Sunday, July 22, 2007


Maximum Commune (Ugly Business... on the basis of disbelief.) Talking with Australian New York based artist Guy Benfield, about his performance/installation work Maximum Commune, part of the Aftermath: Performance Installation series curated by Blair French at Sydney's ART SPACE gallery, right next to the harbour. With the USS Kitty Hawk moored across the street, Guy walked and talked us through his unique work and world.

"Maximum Commune... utilises the cultural model of the 'pavilion' juxtaposed with tropes of modernist architecture, examples of hand-built alternative Zome housing originating from Southern California in the 1960s and collectives such as Drop City. Within these structures, Guy Benfield performs a series of actions, 'droppings' or situational episodes that re-animate tropes that were once declared obsolete, such as ritual, live action painting in the genre of george mathieu, the 'Art informal' movement in France, and the Japanese actionist painting movement - Gutai group. In these performance scenarios Benfield investigates the West Coast Funk Ceramic movement of the late sixties, pottery as an expressionist dialogue and the bourgeois bohemian lifestyle he experienced while growing up insuburban Sydney."

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Monday, July 9, 2007

Roderick Hietbrink: VIVARIUM

"Roderick Hietbrink is a Rotterdam-based artist working with sound and video installation. His work is grounded in the study of urban architecture, resulting in experiential, transformative environments developed in response to specific urban landscapes. Vivarium is a new work produced in the period of Hietbrink’s three-month Artspace Studio Residency and featuresl andscapes near and around Sydney. As in previous works, Vivarium continues to explore issues around nature and the built environment, providing a subtle commentary on the processes of negotiation and navigation that underlie the human condition." I spoke with Roderick in his studio at Artspace.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Love Cats! Chatting with the first couple of Australian contemporary art, the very personable Ms and Mr. Between films at the Sydney Film Fest I slipped into the Kaliman Gallery in Paddington to check out the exhibition HEAVY SENTIMENTAL, and to ruminate on the nature of love, childhood, and the eternal goth spirit of the Cure's Robert Smith, inhabiting the souls of both 11 yr old Ms, and 29 yr old Mr.

"Ms & Mr is the team of Richard and Stephanie Nova Milne, an exploration of both art practice and marriage. The departure point for their practice comes from a willing confusion between their romance and collaborative relationship as artists. This much-anticipated exhibition follows their residency in New York as the recipients of the 2005 Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship."

Heavy Sentimental showcases a series of four video works and a suite of pencil drawings that reflect on childhood footage of the artists that has been digitally manipulated to incorporate images of their present partner in the scenario. This contrast of the young and the old, the past and the present, evokes a sense of reflection and nostalgia as Ms & Mr engage the audience in a trip into their childhood." To view the work, click the Kaliman gallery link.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


On a cold and wet winter's day in Sydney I headed down to the Roslyn OIxley9 Gallery in Paddington to check out the exhibition by Newell Harry, VIEWS FROM THE COUCH. At the top of the stairs a neon statement "The Natives are Restless", and in the main gallery space an installation containing more neon, vessels, large drawings, and woven mats. A sense of technology, language, and raw elements combined. Newell was on hand to talk about his work, and his travel experiences into the townships of South Africa (where his mother is from), as well as remote corners of the pacific. Hence the pidgin text and tribal elements. Cargo Cults make an appearance too. And torrential rainfall. A fascinating discussion. To view the works click the Gallery link.

Saturday, June 9, 2007


Tony Bond, Head of International Art at the Art Gallery of NSW, discusses the epic exhibition, Anslem Keifer: APERIATUR TERRA. Tony & I wander through the 5 spaces within the AGNSW housing the Keifer exhibition, talking about the great German artist, the themes he explores, the construction of the works themselves, and the challenging logistical issues surrounding the presentation of Keifer's huge but delicate works. A remarkable insight into this artist. From the AGNSW site: "Anselm Kiefer is regarded as one of the most important and influential artists working today. This exhibition reveals some of the themes that Anselm Kiefer is currently exploring in his studio in France. One of these themes appears as a room dedicated to Palm Sunday, with painting and sculpture, using mixed media such as date palms, thorns, clay and red oxide." To view the works click the Gallery link.